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Top 3 last mile delivery technology solutions for your business

late mile technology solutions for last mile delivery
late mile technology solutions for last mile delivery

The last mile delivery game has changed. With the rise of e-commerce and changing consumer demands, you might be wondering how businesses are adapting their delivery processes.

The answer?

They are turning to innovative solutions, of which three stand out: AI-driven route optimization, smart lockers, and drones.

These solutions enhance last mile delivery by improving customer experience and reducing costs.

To fully appreciate the role of last mile technology, it’s essential to understand what exactly it encompasses.

The Last Mile Delivery Problem

Increasing demands from companies have put considerable stress on last-mile logistics systems. This is one of the most difficult problems online retailers face today.

Last mile delivery

The quality and timely delivery of your final product is vital for the best experience possible. But how can you deliver on the promises you made to your customers?

The best way to get on the right track will be to use fleet management tools and last mile technology to manage your business processes more effectively.

By using the right software, you can track and manage your fleet assets with real-time tracking. This eliminates most of the disruptions you might encounter and also improves efficiency by increasing the lifespan of your assets.

How do you save by extending asset life?

  • By scheduling maintenance visits.
  • Monitoring your vehicles’ health.
  • Generating maintenance reports.
  • Improving resource utilization and reducing downtime.

What Is Last Mile Logistics?

Ultimately, last mile logistics is staged as a final phase of shipments. It involves transporting shipments from transport hubs to customers’ addresses.

This final phase of the supply chain is crucial because it directly affects customer satisfaction and overall delivery efficiency.

When it comes to customer satisfaction, this process could throw a spanner in the works since delivery speeds and the conditions at which the product arrives will determine how happy your customers are.

One of the ways of reducing a client’s headaches and keeping them happy, is by communicating throughout the delivery process.

The Delivery: Keeping Customers Informed

The key to success is ensuring the right communication across the product lifecycle and transparency in the product delivery processes. It should be your aim to provide a top-quality delivery service that provides instant tracking and notifications.

It should provide accurate estimates of arrivals since this will improve customer satisfaction.

Why? Because it keeps them up-to-date with the status of their delivery.

Real-time monitoring is crucial for businesses wishing to improve their customer service delivery and to gain customer loyalty.

And with the help of AI, you can achieve this in a matter of seconds.

The benefits extend beyond just customer satisfaction and delivery efficiency. By optimizing delivery routes you will also save on operational costs.

Moreover, improving efficiency leads to lower fuel consumption, which in turn leads to reduced carbon emissions.

So, just by adopting the right last mile delivery technology for your business, you also do your part for sustainability.

The Importance of Real-Time Tracking

The role of real-time tracking and communication can’t be dismissed – it’s vital for improving customer satisfaction. A report by McKinsey & Co. shows that real-time tracking and proactive communication can reduce customer service calls by up to 50%.

In addition, businesses using real-time tracking systems will more easily adapt to shifting customer expectations. It’s easy to do this, with a range of technologies, including GPS, RFID, and barcode scanning.

Businesses can then set up custom notifications for real-time tracking, for a variety of occurrences, such as a delivery driver deviating from the route, or when the package has been dropped off.

The process makes it easier for businesses to manage their delivery processes and react to problems as they arise.

How Does Last Mile Technology Help Your Business?

From streamlining manufacturing and delivery processes, the integration of last mile technology is changing how businesses meet the growing demands of e-commerce and customer expectations.

By leveraging AI-driven route optimization you can determine the quickest and most efficient routes. Over time, this means reduced delivery times as well as reduced costs.

Smart lockers, on the other hand, provide a secure and convenient pickup point for your customers. This reduces the risk of missed deliveries and package theft. Your clients will also be happier because of it.

And let’s not forget about robotics and drones.

Along with automation, it enables faster and more flexible delivery options. While robotics increases warehouse efficiency, drones make deliveries possible in all those hard-to-reach locations.

By using these technological marvels right, companies can significantly improve their delivery processes.

Let’s take a closer look at the three delivery solutions that will take your business from mediocre to world class.

Last Mile Technology: 3 Delivery Solutions You Need to Know About

Last mile delivery technology refers to the systems and tools used to improve the delivery process.

This could be incorporated across the entire delivery process: from the transportation of goods between warehouses and distribution centers, right to the customer’s front door.

The purpose of last mile technology is to:

  • Enhance efficiency.
  • Improve reliability.
  • Boost speed.
  • While still meeting customer expectations.

Last mile technology is increasingly used in e-commerce, food delivery, and retail industries to reduce dispatch times, and lower costs by optimizing routes and reducing fuel consumption.

Cutting-Edge Last Mile Technology Software

Companies are increasingly turning to last mile delivery technology delivery solutions such as AI-driven route optimization, smart lockers, and drones to improve efficiency.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s dive deeper into the three solutions currently reshaping the delivery industry.

Drones and robotic deliveries

Autonomous delivery robot drones are becoming one of the most-hyped logistics technologies, and pilot projects have already rolled out across cities across the world.

Drone delivery enables fast and efficient deliveries, especially in hard-to-reach places. These technologies significantly enhance delivery speed, ensuring that packages reach their destinations faster.

In addition, robotic solutions have been used to optimize operations in urban environments.

But adoption rates might be slow and the human touch is still needed as bipedal robots figuratively find their feet. It may take as long as ten years for the robotic trends to become mainstream.

Real-world examples: DJI recently tested drone deliveries on Mount Everest, safely transporting essential supplies from Base Camp to Camp 1 at 6,000m above sea level.

DJI drone deliveries on Mount Everest. Image credit: DJI.

These tests highlighted their capability to carry packages over challenging terrain.

Meanwhile, Amazon was given the green light to expand its drone delivery operations in the US. Amazon’s Prime Air drone program was cleared to operate its drones Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS).

In short:

  • Speed: Drones and robotic deliveries enable fast and efficient delivery, especially in hard-to-reach areas. They can bypass traditional traffic congestion, ensuring timely deliveries.

  • Accessibility: These technologies allow deliveries to locations that are difficult for traditional vehicles to reach, expanding the service area.

  • Example: DJI’s successful drone delivery tests on Mount Everest demonstrated the capability of drones to transport essential supplies over challenging terrain.

Smart Lockers: A Convenient Solution for Customer Satisfaction

Smart lockers are becoming an essential solution to combat the rise of package theft.

This not only provides a reliable alternative to traditional delivery methods but also enhances customer satisfaction by ensuring secure and convenient parcel collection.

Smart lockers in Switzerland. Image: Wikimedia Commons.

Parcels are securely stored until the customer can collect it at their convenience, thus providing a reliable alternative to traditional delivery methods.

Imagine a world where your favorite pub not only serves you a great pin, but you can also collect your parcels from its secure delivery hub.

That’s exactly what Quadient and Stonegate is doing.

Real-world example: Quadient recently partnered with Stonegate Group, the UK’s largest pub company, to introduce Parcel Pending to over 4,500 pubs.

Quadient's Stonegate Parcel Pending near pubs. Image credit: Quadient.

Robotics is also reshaping the e-commerce fulfillment market as the service robotics market grows at an estimated compound annual growth rate of 15.4%.

In short:

  • Security: Smart lockers provide a secure place for packages, reducing the risk of theft and ensuring that parcels are collected only by the intended recipients.

  • Convenience: Customers can pick up their packages at their convenience, enhancing the overall delivery experience.

  • Example: Quadient’s partnership with Stonegate Group to introduce Parcel Pending smart lockers in over 4,500 UK pubs, providing secure and convenient parcel collection points.

AI-driven Route Optimization in The Last Mile Delivery Process

AI-driven route optimization uses sophisticated algorithms to choose the best delivery routes.

This in turn allows companies to predict delivery times, all by analyzing real-time traffic data and weather conditions.

Route Optimization

Real-world example: DHL, for example, uses advanced AI-powered software to manage complex delivery schedules.

They can also provide real-time tracking links for their customers which enhances the overall delivery experience.

In short:

  • Efficiency: AI algorithms analyze real-time traffic data and weather conditions to determine the most efficient delivery routes. This reduces delivery times and operational costs.

  • Predictability: AI helps companies predict delivery times more accurately, providing better service to customers and improving satisfaction.

  • Example: DHL uses AI-powered software to manage complex delivery schedules, allowing for real-time tracking and dynamic route adjustments.

Generative AI for Supply Chain Resilience

Generative AI is more than just the latest buzzword. It’s also a way to automate tasks and analyze data.

Research done by Accenture shows that it can even automate up to 58% of supply chain processes while minimizing operational disruptions.

Over the past two years, disruptions have cost businesses more than $1.6 trillion in missed revenue opportunities.

So, how can businesses use Generative AI?

Procurement

Procurement teams can use chatbot interfaces powered by advanced language models like OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

This method facilitates efficient communication and also assists in a business’s decision-making processes.

Customer satisfaction

Using Gen AI goes beyond just creating chatbot interfaces. It can also analyze vast amounts of unstructured feedback, such as online product reviews and social media sentiments.

And it does this at speeds far surpassing human capabilities. This data could be used by businesses to improve their products and services. It could also enhance product development.

In short: Using Gen AI to refine design workflows and turn customer feedback into actionable insights.

ALSO READ: Anthropic’s AI model is a game-changer for online retail and delivery

Online shopping

No list would be complete without touching on the benefits that last mile technology holds for e-commerce and online shopping.

Generative AI can enhance user experience by providing personalized recommendations. Browse the images of an online store? The interface knows what you’re looking for and provides you with tailored search results.

Beyond streamlining the online store’s search functionalities, it also streamlines the overall shopping process, which in turn boosts customer satisfaction and sales.

Quantum Computing in Last Mile Logistics

Since quantum computing – and the full potential it brings to humanity – is still largely unexplored, it cannot be added to the list of current last mile delivery solutions.

However, it deserves an honorable mention, especially since the most significant application of quantum computing in logistics and last mile delivery would involve managing large quantities of data.

For example, with quantum computing, companies can track large quantities of containers and parcels, through all stages of the supply chain – from manufacturing to warehousing and shipping, and every stop in between.

Sean Tinney, the VP of global enterprise computing solutions at Unisys, explains how the biggest challenge is getting existing industry knowledge (ie. data) “out of a person’s head and into a format where” it can practically be applied in quantum computing. 

“When something goes wrong, and you have to crunch thousands upon thousands of potential scenarios instantaneously. The introduction of quantum computing can power those models and allow someone to get the best answer of what they should do,” Tinney says.

Sustainability in Last-Mile Delivery

Sustainability is another vital aspect that cannot be overlooked.

Why?

According to the World Economic Forum, last mile delivery accounts for up to 53% of the total carbon footprint of the shipping process.

E-bikes and Sustainability in Last Mile Delivery

Apart from reducing your company’s carbon footprint, making decisions with sustainability in mind also reduces fuel consumption by up to 30%, while electric vehicles and bikes reduce CO2 emissions by up to 60%.

Consumers are willing to wait longer for eco-friendly delivery options, showing a preference for sustainable practices.

They are even willing to pay more, according to a study by Stuart. It found that one in four consumers would switch brands if it wasn’t prioritizing sustainability.

Future of Last Mile Delivery is Automated

A recent study titled ‘Robots at Your Doorstep’ shows the direction last mile technology is headed towards, and it’s all about automation.

The study shows how robotics, bipedal robots, drones, and AVs are not only making warehousing and delivery easier, but also changing society’s perception of these technologies.

For example, when a drone delivery is free, consumers are more likely to try it out, even if they’ve never received a package via drone delivery before. In addition, citizens tend to respect AVs more than bipedal robots.

The study shows that consumers generally have a positive attitude toward AVs, but bipedal robots are not the most popular technology among respondents.

This is helpful for companies planning to introduce robotics since they can focus on the perceived successful trends before introducing the other options.

The role of AI and ML in Last Mile Technology

The impact of AI and Machine Learning (ML) cannot be ignored any longer. Logistics analyst Adrian Gonzales advises companies to make use of generative AI during these early stages.

He says gaining an advantage while “everyone else is still trying to understand” how this technology works will pay off and get companies ahead of their competitors.

When it comes down to it, the use of ML and AI will result in the analysis of vast troves of data to extract actionable insights.

Numerous companies have embraced AI to boost efficacy in their last mile operations. 

Embracing Last Mile Technology

Embracing last mile delivery technology is no longer optional – it is crucial for improving efficiency and reducing costs in delivery services.

By implementing smart tech, you can streamline your delivery processes, reduce costs, and provide a superior customer experience.

Locate2u’s route optimization software boosts delivery accuracy by using real-time traffic and weather data to build the most efficient routes. It can even optimize multiple stops in a matter of seconds and can be integrated with existing systems.

Other AI-powered tools like geofencing and optimization to reduce fuel consumption enable your business to send orders out fast and efficiently while managing your team’s workload.

Last Mile Delivery Technology: Conclusion

Adopting last-mile delivery technology is essential for any business aiming to stay competitive.

The e-commerce and logistics environments are evolving at the speed of light, but by leveraging the right tools, your business stays in the lead.

Using tools like Locate2u’s route optimization software, you can enhance delivery accuracy while reducing operational costs and boosting your customer satisfaction levels.

Consumer expectations will change as these industries evolve, but the integration of these smart last mile technologies will help you weather any rocky patches.

Embracing these innovations is not just a strategic advantage – it’s vital for driving growth and success in the modern logistics landscape.

About the author

Cheryl has contributed to various international publications, with a fervor for data and technology. She explores the intersection of emerging tech trends with logistics, focusing on how digital innovations are reshaping industries on a global scale. When she's not dissecting the latest developments in AI-driven innovation and digital solutions, Cheryl can be found gaming, kickboxing, or navigating the novel niches of consumer gadgetry.

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